ESPN commentator Ryan Clark wasn’t having Paul Finebaum’s take on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on Wednesday — and he let him have it.
Finebaum and Clark, on ESPN’s “Get Up,” were discussing both Eli Manning — who was benched this week and replaced by rookie Daniel Jones — and Newton — who has struggled to start the season while battling injuries.
1. @Realrclark25 must be protected at all costs. He's been doing the Lord's work.— Astasia Williams (@AstasiaWill) September 18, 2019
2. Paul has his lazy journalism pants on. To say Cam has brought the Panthers organization down clearly means he doesn't watch NFL football since 2011. JUST BE QUIET IF YOU DON'T KNOW. pic.twitter.com/Qn6a6owzgI
"We’re not watching the beginning of the end. It is the end. It's over for Cam Newton," Finebaum said. "I don't know why we're mincing words and trying to find a pretty way to put it. He's a train wreck right now. He can't do what he used to do. And quite frankly, forget the sympathy tour.
“Cam Newton has never really cared about anyone other than Cam Newton … He’s brought this franchise down. It's over for Cam Newton. Nice knowing you, but you’re done.”
Clark, though, didn’t appreciate the take — especially after Finebaum has just finished praising Manning.
"This is my only statement to that," Clark responded. "We just spoke — not we, Paul — glowingly about Eli Manning, and he has taken a dud for the last four years. You want to talk about bringing a franchise down? Eli has ruined that franchise. So we got to take out how we feel about dudes because he's a Manning, because we love him ... If we look at it right now, Cam has more left than Eli has had for years. We have to take out how we feel about dudes and the way that they act … that’s not how it works. (Newton) has killed himself for his team.”
Newton has struggled in the Panthers’ first two games of the season, completing just 56 percent of his passes for 572 yards with one interception and one fumble. The 30-year-old has yet to score a touchdown, and Carolina has dropped both games.
While Newton’s start has been slow — which Finebaum and others have taken as a potential end of his career — Manning has had a rough few seasons with the New York Giants.
Manning has won just eight games in New York the past three seasons, and has only recorded one winning record since 2012. He led the Giants to a pair of rough opening games this year — including a blowout season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The two-time Super Bowl champion and former Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner simply looks nothing like he once was, causing some to doubt a future spot in the Hall of Fame.
Though one can debate Manning and Newton any number of ways, Clark’s point was simple: Just because Newton is a very different quarterback, and a very different person, than Manning is doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.
“We’ve got to stop treating dudes like because they play a certain way or because they act a certain way that’s not familiar to us, that that’s not leadership, that that’s not caring,” Clark said. “That’s not right.”
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